Too many of us are familiar with the scenario: you pop some chicken in your oven, open the door 20 minutes later hoping for an easy dinner, and realise you’ve accidentally sent your smoke alarm into a screaming frenzy.
It’s not what anyone deserves really, is it? And while frequent oven smoking could mean your cooker is due a deep-clean, it turns out that sometimes, solving the problem could be as simple as scrunching your tinfoil when roasting food on a high heat.
Yes, that’s right. “Anytime you’re roasting and want to limit the amount of smoke billowing up and stinking up your kitchen, this method is a lifesaver,” America’s Test Kitchen reports.
The simple hack involves crumpling up some tinfoil into a ball before spreading it out on a rimmed baking tray, and adding a wire rack if you’re roasting something big ― though this might not be necessary for smaller items.
It’s thought to work because the air pockets in your crumpled foil increase circulation beneath the food, especially if it has a rack on top of it.
“It may not look like much, but all of those tiny pockets work together to insulate heat from the pan,” America’s Test Kitchen says.
On top of that, it gives any grease and drip-off a cooler, less flat place to drop onto, helping to inhibit smoke.
And some people swear the extra circulation adds a satisfying crunch to their oven fries, as well as helping to prevent food from sticking to their baking trays.
“Crinkle your foil before making chicken nuggets, frozen potatoes, etc. It makes for easy flipping and helps the food to not get stuck. I discovered this by accident/being cheap,” Reddit user u/MrBogey90 shared on r/foodhacks.
“I crumple my tin foil... when I cook bacon in the oven. It isn’t to prevent sticking, but to create pockets where the grease collects. I like my bacon crispy, and it seems to crisp up better for me when it cooks above the grease rather than in it,” another Reddit user said.
Both preventing the grease from pooling and spilling in your oven and lifting your food from the base of the tray via those sweet, sweet air pockets is pretty achievable via a simple scrunch.
So, next time you cook that succulent chicken, why not give this a try?